"Rubio laying the groundwork to blame the White House"
"The Republican Party's attempt to woo Hispanic voters this election year has so far been a rough ride. And last week that journey hit another speed bump."
When Bettina Inclan, the Republican National Committee official in charge of Hispanic outreach, was asked about GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney's hard-line position on immigration enforcement and how it might play with the average Hispanic voter, she became tongue-tied."Immigration stance keeps Hispanics sour on Romney".
"I think as a candidate, to my understanding, that he's still deciding what his position on immigration is," Inclan said. "So I can't talk about what his proposal's going to be, because I don't know what Romney exactly - he's talked about different issues."
During GOP primaries, where many voters were staunch conservatives, Romney said the U.S. needed to enforce its laws to the point that illegal immigrants "self-deport" because they can no longer work and support themselves here. That angered many Hispanics, leaving Inclan a hard job.
But now that Romney appears to have the nomination sewn up, questions arise: Will he soften his stance? And whether he does or not, how important will the immigration issue be, especially to Hispanic voters, and especially in Florida, which Romney almost certainly must win to become president ?
"He was duking it out in the primaries and said those things," said Ana Navarro of Miami, a longtime GOP consultant. "Now he's going to have to make a big effort, especially in Florida, and try to win some of those people back."
Romney's critics on the immigration issue say Inclan may not know what his position is, but Hispanic voters do. They point to a recent Pew Research Center poll that shows President Obama leading Romney 67 percent to 27 percent among registered Hispanic voters nationwide.
Meanwhile, as he "prepares to release his scaled-back version of the DREAM Act, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is simultaneously laying the groundwork to blame the White House for its impending failure — and Democrats appear to be falling into his trap. It’s election-year jujitsu for Rubio, who is helping the GOP court Hispanic voters and keeping the door open to the vice presidency."
Blaming the White House papers over the fact that Republicans have fiercely opposed measures that benefit people living in the country illegally. House Speaker John Boehner has signaled that Rubio’s upcoming proposal won’t change this dynamic. By contrast Democrats voted overwhelmingly in 2010 for the DREAM Act, which unlike Rubio’s alternative includes the promise of citizenship for undocumented people raised in the U.S. who attend college or join the military."Are Democrats Falling For Rubio’s Trap On The DREAM Act?". See also "Harry Reid To Rubio: Stop Talking And Release Your DREAM Act".
Even so, administration officials and top Democrats may be playing into Rubio’s hands by resisting his effort. Part of the political calculus is that they believe the issue will help energize Hispanic voters for Democrats ahead of the election. Hispanic voters are not happy with President Obama but they prefer him by a huge margin to Republicans, who have repeatedly thwarted efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis recently called Rubio’s ideas “half-cooked” and said they don’t go far enough. “His notion of the DREAM Act would only provide you with residency and the ability to stay, go to school but not lead to a path to citizenship,” she told MSNBC.
"Look out Gooberville"
Steve Otto: "What's going to happen when news reporters and others show up and someone tells them their hotel is not in Tampa Bay, but in a community called St. Petersburg or Plant City? Or worse, what if they tell a taxi driver to take them to Tampa Bay? Twenty minutes later they'll find themselves in Port Tampa looking out at the water, with the driver telling there's no community called Tampa Bay. Look out Gooberville." "Tampa fights inner goober as RNC nears".
"Macnamara's manipulations too great to ignore"
The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Macnamara was right to submit his resignation Saturday as chief of staff for Florida Gov. Rick Scott."
His heavy-handed management style and propensity for insider dealing had become a major distraction for a governor who campaigned as a government outsider. MacNamara helped the new governor increase transparency and improve his relationships in the Legislature. But his manipulations were finally too great to ignore."Governor's top insider had to go". More: "Jacksonville's Adam Hollingsworth to Replace MacNamara as Chief of Staff".
Nancy Smith: "MacNamara did advance the governor's agenda over the last nine months. But he has also damaged his boss's reputation." "Good For You, Governor: Forge On, Don't Look Back".
Cuban-American support for GOP has dropped by nearly 20%
"Obama captured 35 percent of the Cuban-American vote four years ago, more than any Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1996 and 65 percent of support from voters ages 18 to 29. McCain took 66 percent of the vote from Cubans ages 50 to 64 and 79 percent from those 65 to 74."
It used to be enough for Republican politicians to sweep in to Miami, sip Cuban coffee at Versailles restaurant and hammer on Fidel Castro to seal the Cuban vote that makes up about 70 percent of the Republican electorate in Miami-Dade."Cuban-American vote splintering".
But the younger generation is less motivated by those politics, having assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture. ...
The change is also driven by the introduction of Mariel boatlift immigrants into the voting class. Fleeing Cuba en masse in 1980, the refugees were driven more by economic than political reasons. Along with more recent arrivals, they tend to be less against the trade embargo and more in favor of increased travel with Cuba.
Political strategists in Miami caution against drawing too strong a connection to U.S. policy and fading allegiances, but for various reasons, overall GOP support among Cuban-Americans has dropped by nearly 20 percent in since 2000.
Republicans, who face much broader concerns over attracting non-Cuban Hispanics, expect the economy will reverse the trend and pledge an aggressive outreach program in South Florida. Obama's also not the cool new guy, either.
Term limits on elected county officials
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The Florida Supreme Court last week guaranteed voters a greater say in how they shape their county governments, ruling that imposing term limits on elected county officials is constitutional after all." "Right ruling, but risky".
Not "suppression", but "constraining voter participation"
Marc Caputo says its merely "the Republican Party changing election-year rules to keep the voter-registration rolls from quickly growing more Democratic."
“I don’t see it as voter suppression,” said Daniel A Smith, a University of Florida political scientist who is studying the new law’s effects. “This is more an effort to constrain voter participation under the guise of fighting fraud.”"Voter apathy — not Florida’s new voting laws — may hurt turnout in 2012".
Smith points out that the data clearly show the elections law disproportionately affects black and Hispanic voters.
Meanwhile, partisan lines are forming over the state’s new effort to identify and remove noncitizen voters from the rolls. The state preliminarily identified 180,000 potential noncitizens — many of them black and Hispanic — but the final number of noncitizens on the voter rolls is likely to be much lower.
But there could be a more subtle problem for Democrats and President Barack Obama. It’s not so much “suppression.” It’s more like psychological “repression.”
Quite simply: Democrats have held themselves back from voting.
"Nelson Looks Solid for Third Term"
Kevin Derby: writes that "Republicans hold the high ground in Florida’s political battles."
They control the governorship and all the state Cabinet offices. Most of the Florida congressional delegation is Republican and they have veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature."Like It or Not, Bill Nelson Looks Solid for Third Term".
But they can’t quite get their act together in taking on Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is seeking a third term in November.
"Rubio's statement False"
Politifact "decided to check out Rubio's claim that the Democrats' plan raised taxes on small businesses."
Rubio's statement gives the impression that all kinds of mom-and-pop operations might be subject to new, additional taxes, when actually the bill is aimed squarely at high-income professionals. The bill's intent was to close a loophole on people who were avoiding payroll taxes, taxes that they're supposed to be paying anyway."Sen. Marco Rubio's claim on student loan bill is false".
We rate Rubio's statement False.
Murphy says he has West on the run
"Regardless of whether you believe Democrat Patrick Murphy's poll that says he's tied with Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West, there's no disputing the underlying competitiveness of the new Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 congressional seat that emerged in this year's redistricting."
Murphy last week released portions of an internal poll showing him tied with West at 45 percent in District 18. Mitt Romney edges President Obama by a 49-to-46 percent margin in the same district, according to the poll by Democratic pollster Keith Frederick."Patrick Murphy says he's tied with Allen West in race for Congress; West, others dismiss claim".
West campaign manager Tim Edson called the Murphy poll "pathetic," but declined to reveal the West camp's internal numbers.
"I cannot believe that would be true," U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, said of the Murphy numbers. Rooney's current district includes much of what will be District 18 after the November elections.
While doubting Murphy's poll, Rooney acknowledges the new District 18 is no slam dunk for a Republican. Rooney decided in January to run in a new, more rural and Republican district to the west. Part of the reason, Rooney said, is that staying in District 18 would require raising major money and withstanding a tough Democratic challenge every two years.
"Politics at its worst"
"Miami Beach commissioners wrong to delay real ethics reforms or an audit of agencies." "Politics at its worst". Related: "Controversy led to downfall of Miami Beach manager".